Our Master of Landscape Architecture program offers a professional design education in a small program with a deep commitment to the discipline. Our program is accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council (LAAC) of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA). The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recognizes Canadian programs accredited by LAAC as equivalent to American accredited programs under a reciprocity agreement.
Our MLA program offers a rigorous, well-rounded curriculum to foster design-oriented research and new modes of inquiry in landscape architecture. We are committed to providing an educational platform for individuals seeking a critical engagement with landscape architecture as a means to become global citizens and agents of positive change across a range of scales and territories. Candidates of our MLA program participate in a robust sequence of coursework that not only provides foundational knowledge on the profession of landscape architecture, but also values exploration and technological innovation in both design and scholarship. Students also develop their technical, intellectual, and analytical skills through research with faculty in the areas of climate change adaptation, health and well being, urban and ecological infrastructure, and contemporary landscape history and theory.
In order to address the complex environmental and social issues of our times and in the future, our program treasures its cross-disciplinary pedagogical ties with allied programs within SALA, including our Master of Architecture program, Master of Urban Design program, and undergraduate Bachelor of Design program. Together with strong links to other departments at UBC, our program is positioned well to help both faculty and students pursue emerging topics in the field of landscape architecture.
Because we value the diverse knowledge and expertise of practicing landscape architects, our program connects students with members of the profession through internships, studio reviews, lectures, the mentorship program, several social events throughout the year, and representation on the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA) Board of Directors. Community engagement is deeply valued by our program, and we increasingly work with Indigenous Peoples. Students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty, organizations, and municipalities in the province and abroad. Importantly, students engage a wide range of constituencies in the larger community – academic, professional, and public.
1. Laying a solid foundation
To enhance and maintain a robust sequence of coursework during the first “core year” of the MLA program. This core year of design studios and supporting courses deliver the foundational knowledge and skills during year one to ensure future success in years two and three.
2. Cross-disciplinary collaboration
Our students will have multidisciplinary educational experiences with our sister professional program, the Master of Architecture, because our program values cross-disciplinary ties which are needed to address the complex environmental and social issues of our times and in the future.
3. Technology integration
Enhance our program’s technological innovation and integration.
4. Strengthen professional ties
Because we value the diverse knowledge and expertise of practicing landscape architects we will increase the engagement of students and faculty with professional landscape architects in Vancouver, the province, Canada, and beyond.
5. Global citizens engaged in a range of scales and communities
Encourage our students to become global citizens and agents of positive change across a range of scales and communities, particularly in their work with Indigenous Peoples.
6. Promoting the work of landscape architecture students
Promote the work of our talented landscape architecture students.
- Why study landscape architecture here?
- What can I do with my MLA degree?
Our low student-faculty ratio means close and regular contact with our full-time and adjunct faculty. Our close connections within the school and across campus allow students to expand the reach of their studies to related disciplines, such as architecture and urban planning. Opportunities to study abroad at one of our partner universities around the world promote engagement with the ever-changing cultural concerns in architecture and landscape architecture.
Our students routinely pursue co-operative work experience in order to expand their professional network and to gain credit towards their degree. By working in firms or agencies related to their areas of interest, students can hone design development and documentation skills for future practice.
We have a strong connection with the local professional design community, which takes part in our studio reviews, graduate project committees, and mentorship programs. We coordinate an informal lecture series with students, faculty, and guests from local landscape architecture affiliates. These discourses offer feedback and advice from a broad audience for students presenting their initiatives and projects.
As a student at UBC Vancouver, you will have access to world-class facilities and a research library ranked among the best in Canada. As a student in Vancouver, you will have access to the city and region as a living laboratory, further enhancing your studies in landscape architecture.
The three-year Master of Landscape Architecture degree requires the completion of 110 credits, which includes your graduate project. If you already have a design degree or advanced design education, you may receive advanced placement into a two-year variant, subject to faculty approval.
Typical course of study
- LARC 511 Introductory Workshop
- ARCH 515 Design Media I
- LARC 316 Trees and Shrubs in Landscape
- LARC 501 Landscape Architecture Design Studio I
- LARC 522 Landscape Architectural History
- ARCH 517 Design Media II
- LARC 502 Landscape Architecture Design Studio II
- LARC 531 Landscape Technologies I
- LARC 541 Landscape Planning and Management
We accept applications for the Master of Landscape Architecture between October 1 and January 15 each year. Admissions decisions are sent out in mid- to late March. We receive many outstanding applications, and admission to our programs is competitive. Unfortunately, we cannot offer admission to all qualified applicants.
Please note that tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors and are subject to change each year. Tuition fees for international students are expected to rise for the 2024-25 academic year. For information about current tuition fees for domestic, international, and continuing students please see the UBC Academic calendar.
You must hold a degree that is academically equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree at UBC. There is no requirement for the discipline of your previous degree. We accept students from a wide variety of academic fields.
If you have completed your degree at a Canadian or American university, you must have a B+ average in your third- and fourth-year-level coursework. If you completed your degree at an international university, you must have a B+ average in all coursework.
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
The minimum scores are:
TOEFL – 100 iBT or 600 paper based
IELTS – Overall band score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component of the academic (not general) test.
While not required, you may submit GRE results as additional evidence of scholastic promise and aptitude.
All application materials should be submitted through the online application.
You must submit an online application form, complete application materials and the non-refundable application fee by the deadline of January 15.
A summary of your experiences in education, work, travel, volunteering, and other relevant areas. The maximum length is two pages, double spaced.
All MLA applicants must provide a statement (600 words maximum) that responds to the following questions:
- Please tell us how your academic background and lived experiences have prepared you for your studies at UBC SALA.
- Include a description of a contemporary landscape project, condition, or issue that you find compelling, and why.
- Please elaborate on an aspect, theme or topic within landscape architecture you would like to pursue in the future.
Your portfolio is submitted digitally in your online application. The PDF can be a maximum of 20 letter-sized (8.5″ x 11″) pages (or 10 spreads) and must be under 10MB in size. These 20 pages do not include your cover page or table of contents.
Tip: Use 150 pixels-per-inch or even 72 ppi images, or try saving the file as a Reduced Size PDF (“Save as Other”) in Adobe Acrobat, to bring down the file size.
The intent of the portfolio is to highlight design potential and visual thinking. You should use the portfolio to showcase your interests and accomplishments, and to show how you could contribute artistically and socially to a demanding professional program.
Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to conceptualize ideas, observations and projects in two and three dimensions through a variety of media, not just one or two. The portfolio may contain drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, printmaking, ceramics, fashion design, woodworking, writing samples, and/or other media. Showing your creative process and ability to think conceptually will also provide context for your work.
You should organize your portfolio into a clearly legible, well-crafted document. The portfolio should have concise, descriptive text on each page to adequately explain the work. All text and visual material you include must be legible. Applicants with previous design degrees may show a variety of media expressing their design process and intent. In addition to text describing the overall project, you should select key images in your portfolio and include a few sentences that explain your process – both technical and conceptual – for creating that key image. We are interested in your design process, not just the finished product or image.
Your portfolio should focus mainly on your own work. If work was produced in collaboration with others, please clearly indicate your precise contribution to the submitted work and only use a maximum of 3 pages of collaborative work.
You must upload scans of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions previously attended, including transcripts from universities attended on exchange. Uploads of unofficial transcripts will not be accepted. If you are currently completing a degree, submit your transcripts to date. In that case, UBC will not grant final confirmation of acceptance until you have submitted the final transcripts after the degree is conferred. If offered admission, you will be asked to send official transcripts in hardcopy.
If the academic records are in a language other than English or French, you must submit scans of the official transcripts in their original language and accompany them with scans of official translations.
You must arrange for three letters of reference, two of which should be academic and speak to your past performance and ability to succeed in a graduate program. Referees submit their letters through the online application system.
Our Master of Landscape Architecture program prepares you to enter the world of practicing landscape architects. Your degree is certified by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, which is recognized in Canada and the US. British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario have regulatory bodies for the landscape architecture profession, and non-regulatory bodies in the other provinces. In British Columbia, you must complete the internship program to become eligible to register as a licenced landscape architect with the BCSLA.
The practice of landscape architecture is growing quickly. Awareness of the profession is also on the rise. Municipal governments are especially looking for the specialized knowledge of landscape architects for green space projects. Today’s firms range from small, one- or two-person teams to large multinational groups. Similarly, landscape architects can work on a huge scale of projects, from individual sites to large-scale developments. The Government of Canada predicts fair growth in several regions across the country for the profession, with low levels of unemployment due to a shortage of landscape architects.
While the majority of our graduates have gone on to careers directly in landscape architecture, that path is by no means the only one. Over the course of your studies here, you’ll gain invaluable skills in:
- design and visualization
- a variety of digital media tools
- communication and presentations
- project management and organization
- sustainability and resource management
There are a number of positions that benefit from an education in landscape architecture. Some of our alumni have pursued:
- urban design planning and policy
- sustainability research
- energy management
- resort planning and analysis
You can also pursue further education through a post-professional degree program. Our Master of Urban Design and Master of Advanced Studies in Landscape Architecture programs are geared towards those who already have degrees in landscape architecture and want to continue exploring the academic side of the field.
The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects accredits the Master of Landscape Architecture professional degree through its Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council. The council evaluates, advocates for, advances, and maintains the quality of education in Canadian landscape architectural programs. It typically evaluates university programs every five years to determine compliance with its published minimum standards and the programs’ own stated goals.
First recognized in 1997, the LAAC last accredited the MLA program in 2018 for six years.
The American Society of Landscape Architecture recognizes programs accredited by the LAAC as equivalent to American accredited programs under a reciprocity agreement.